Ever wondered why election posters almost always feature the candidate’s face?

I do. Not that some of the candidates aren’t gorgeous enough to get my vote on looks alone (cough!), but isn’t it a bit risky to rely so much on the facial features of the politicians to attract voters when politics itself doesn’t traditionally attract the supermodel types?

The 2011 General Election is different from most previous elections in Ireland in that it seems to be an election of distress, rather than an election of choice or pleasure.

It’s important to recognise the difference between the distress purchase and the pleasure purchase or purchase of choice and how they are decided upon by the buyer.

When making a purchase decision for pleasure, brand personality and image can take priority over price and consideration of features. The consumer can feel good about the positive choice he or she is making. A good example of this is in the perfume category – not one piece of marketing communication I’ve seen even mentions what the SMELL of the product is like, but they all focus on the brand promise, usually getting the guy or girl of your dreams!

A distress purchase, which is one that must be made, one that the consumer really doesn’t want to make and does not enjoy making needs to give priority over to its features and play down other elements of its brand personality. Fuel is a good example of a category that is hugely price led.  

It must be remembered, however that brand promise and features must always both be communicated, it’s just that on some occasions one takes precedence over the other.

This is true too of the 2011 election. In previous elections, a lot of choices would be made based on brand loyalty and on qualities other than features (e.g. localness). This is one year where policies (features) are being studied very carefully indeed and are affecting voters’ decisions.

To increase the chances of success, the canny candidate’s marketing communication should be less about the face and more about the features.

If you would like to talk to Paula Ronan about how your brand can compete more effectively, call Paula on 086 1294859 or email paula@ronanmarketing.ie